Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What we have left

 Noah Galloway is a hero. No, he didn't take a clock to school that looked like a bomb, nor is he a celebrity who came out as gay. He is a hero in the true sense of the word. While serving our country in the military, he lost his left arm up to the elbow and his left leg below the knee due to a roadside bomb.  He went through some rough times of depression, drinking, and felt his life was over. Then one day, things changed. In his own words:

"I really looked in the mirror and quit looking at what I was missing, and paid attention to what I had left," he said. "It's like I had to be injured. I had to go through that dark time to get to where I am today."

He started working out again, and got himself back in shape. He went on to appear on the cover of Men's Health magazine, the first double amputee to do so, and also appeared on the show Dancing With the Stars, putting on an amazing performance.

  On January 21, 1981 while my whole family was away, our house caught on fire and burned to the ground. I was just a kid, and was devastated. My parents were in their late 30's and the devastation was even more real to them. They had no insurance, and had lost everything except our vehicles and the clothes we had on our backs. That evening, after viewing the remains of the house we had been living in, my parents decided to focus on what they had left: Us. Dad was at work, two of us kids were at school, and my mom and little sister were visiting someone. No one was at home, so no one was injured or killed. Yes, we had lost everything we owned, but we were left, and that was what was important.

  Nick Vujicic was born with no arms or legs, just having one foot. There came a time in his life that he had to focus on what he had left instead of what he is missing. He has accomplished and done things that are amazing, and even married and just had his second child. He travels all over the world speaking and telling what God has done for him. He inspires and encourages thousands of people. Had he focused on what he was missing, God could never have used him in the way he has.

  Joni Eareckson Tada was paralyzed in 1967 at the age of 16, and has spent her life since then paralyzed from the neck down. She learned to paint by holding brushes in her mouth, has written several books, recorded music CDs, has a ministry, and helps get wheel chairs for people who cannot afford them. She also had to get past what she was missing and focus on what she had left, and God has used her.

  The bad and negative always seem to stick out more in our lives. We can have one bad day in a week, and focus on it instead of the good six. One person can be mean to us, and we forget the other people who were nice to us. One bad hour in a day causes us to overlook the 23 that are good. God doesn't seem to answer a prayer we pray, and we forget the many that He did answer.

  If we are human, we have things we need and/or want in our lives. No one has everything they want, even the most wealthy of men. We have friends, but want more. We have money, but need more. We have a car, but would like a nicer and newer one. We have a phone, but would like a better and newer model. We have a church to worship in, but want one that meets our wants and needs more.

  We are so focused on what we don't have in life, that we miss out on what we do have.... and often what we have outweighs and is better than what we are missing or think we are missing. In the case of Noah Galloway, he is missing part of his leg and arm, but he still has the rest of his body. Nick has no limbs, but God is using him, and Joni is paralyzed, yet God has given her a ministry that she has helped many through. When our house burnt down, we lost our earthly possessions, but our lives were spared. I had a bad start to my day, yet the other 23 hours of the day will most likely be good.

  There are things in my life I am unhappy with, things I wish I have that I don't, things I would like to change but either can't or don't know how. I am single, and realized long ago that marriage is not a possibility. I don't know yet what God has in store for me, but I am just now learning to not look at what I am missing in life.....or think that I am missing, and start to look at what I have left. When I start counting my blessings and seeing what I do have and listing the things I have to be thankful for.... I discover there is so much more I have in my life that I need and want than what I do not.

  I am convinced that God cannot use us until we get to the place where we stop focusing and obsessing on what we don't have, and instead focus on and give to God what we have left.

  There is a story in the Bible about a woman who was living when there was a famine in the land. The prophet Elijah came across her and asked her for some water and bread. She told him all she had left was a little bit of flour and oil. She was going to make a last meal for her son and herself, and then they would die. Elijah asked her to make him some bread first, and then some for her son. She must have had amazing faith, for she did that....... and the oil and flour never came to an end until the famine was over.

  What if she had selfishly said no? She and her son would have starved to death. But she gave to God's servant what she had left, and God blessed her.

  May God help me, and all who profess to follow Him, to be more thankful for what we have left, and let Him use it and us for His glory.

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